Diverse Groups Urge Nevada Regulators to Protect Solar Rights

Groups Join Together to Support Nevada’s Solar Net Metering

Media release — November 16, 2015:

Advocates, Students, Faith Leaders and Community Groups Join Together to Support Nevada’s Solar Net Metering Program, Highlight Policy’s Shared Benefits

Las Vegas: A diverse group of advocates, community and faith leaders gathered in Las Vegas today to urge the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) to support rooftop solar progress and expand a critical solar program called ‘net metering.’

Under Governor Sandoval’s leadership, solar is helping Nevada families and businesses take charge of their energy bills, build healthier communities and make the state a leader in our new energy economy — but its future is now uncertain. Before the end of the year, regulators at the PUCN will decide whether or not to make changes to the state’s successful net metering program that could put solar out of reach for many Nevadans.

Today’s media event coincides with a series of technical workshops that the PUCN is holding this week in Las Vegas and Carson City on the net metering program. Organizations that spoke at today’s event in support of solar include: Alliance for Climate Education, Chispa NV, Christian Coalition of America, the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, and Vote Solar.

“The price of going solar has dropped by half over the past five years, giving Nevada energy consumers an affordable option for lowering their electricity bills and investing in a brighter Nevada,” said Jessica Scott, interior-west regional manager for Vote Solar, a solar advocacy organization. “With that solar opportunity now hanging in the balance, Nevadans of all walks of life are coming together to urge the PUCN to stand strong for solar progress and consumer choice.”

In place in 44 states, net metering gives solar customers full credit on their energy bills for valuable clean electricity they deliver to the utility grid. This simple crediting arrangement is one of the most effective and popular state policies for enabling Nevadans to go solar.

“Our congregations invested in solar because it was the right thing to do following the teachings of religious leaders from Pope Francis to our own Presiding Bishop and Convention resolutions. We could afford to make that commitment because of the savings solar was supposed to produce under the current policy. If the rate structures reverse that economic impact, it hurts our service missions to the community and punishes us for doing the right thing,” said Rt. Rev. Dan T. Edwards, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada.

Net metering has helped fuel the transformational growth of solar and democratization of the state’s energy system. The program spurs private investment in homegrown solar power that reduces the need for expensive and polluting utility infrastructure, which in turn delivers community-wide cost savings, water savings and health benefits.

“It is no secret that low-income communities of color are hit the hardest by pollution, dirty air and the effects of climate change. Using the sun to produce electricity simply makes sense. It results in clean air, good jobs, and a safe and healthy future for all. The Public Utility Commission should be exploring how to expand our communities’ benefit from and access to rooftop solar, not undercutting it,” said Rudy Zamora, program director for Chispa Nevada.

“Net metering is a policy with both near and long term benefits. It immediately reduces Nevada’s reliance on the dirty fossil fuels that threaten our health, while increasing access to renewable energy careers for young people,” said Vernard Williams, Las Vegas-based associate program director with the Alliance for Climate Education who participated in the media event along with two local student leaders.

A study commissioned by the PUCN confirmed that the utility grid benefits from net metered clean energy systems installed from 2014 to 2016 will outweigh costs by $174 million, helping keep rates low for all NV Energy customers. By reducing the use of water-intensive traditional power sources, rooftop solar also helps conserve Nevada’s limited water resource and protect its natural heritage.

“Christians in Nevada and throughout America support solar energy because the sun has been given to us by God, and we should be able to embrace that sunshine to enhance our security, our economy and our lives,” said Bill Thomson, national energy director for the Christian Coalition of America.

Net metering has also helped make Nevada a national leader in the new energy economy with more solar jobs per capita than any other state. These jobs are inherently local and create real opportunity for Nevada workers to be part of a growing industry that is also improving the health and well being of their communities.

Learn more about net metering in Nevada.

Media contacts:  Rudy Zamora – rudy_zamora@lcv.org, 702-724-5386
Rosalind Jackson – Rosalind@votesolar.org, 510-708-6880

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